Letters 6-26

Act, Forest Service

After all the publicity about Mt. Hood Meadows’ stated but not formally proposed plans to expand their operations in the Cooper Spur area, and the U.S. Forest Service’s clearly stated goal to log the same area are considered, a prudent and rational conclusion is that the north side of Mt. Hood is headed for devastating and permanent changes that will affect wildlife, ecosystems, drinking water, and the much enjoyed alpine backcountry. If the Forest Service and Mt. Hood Meadows were telling the public the truth, they would say they were going to log this area, and then they were going to build a ski area on it with lots of infrastructure, parking, etc. Instead, because there is no “formal” Meadows expansion plan to assess, the Forest Service says they have to consider the logging independently which includes the assumption of the land being replanted and wildlife returning. However, Meadows will then present their plan and the Forest Service will consider the effect of ski runs etc. in existing clearcuts. The damage to the land will have been done so there will be no “good” reason to prevent the ski area from expanding. It’s time for the Forest Service to tell us why they are so enabling of Mt. Hood Meadows at the expense of forest health. It is time for the Forest Service to prove they are managing our forest heritage appropriately by delaying timber harvest plans in the Pollalie-Cooper area until Meadows makes its expansion plans official. The public’s perception of a corrupt Forest Service’s under-the-table complicity with Mt.Hood Meadows needs to be addressed by actions that indicate this is not the case.

John Wood

Hood River

Not impressed

If Gary Fields’ observations in the June 12 issue of this paper about Wal-Mart (again?) had not been so pathetic they would have been hilarious. Wal-Mart, as everybody very well knows, just topped the Fortune 500 list and you do not do that by cheating the public.

The American Way, as well known throughout the world, is to blaze your own way. But apparently you have to be careful to not get too big or successful or people like the H.R. anti-growth crowd will take it upon themselves to tell you how big or successful you are allowed to get. The contempt and almost hatred displayed by these people is so venomous it takes your breath away. I am not very impressed with their arguments and can’t see the damage an enlarged Wal-Mart will do to Hood River.

But as they say: I may not agree with your point of view, but I will defend your right to express your opinions to the death.

Peter von Oppel

Hood River

Just tank it

Because we really cannot afford the increased expense of travelling greater distances for interscholastic competition (with the OSAA realignment), perhaps a thoughtful sulution is to check the till every Thursday morning during the school year, observe there is no extra bus gas money, and then call the competitor for that week, and forfeit the scheduled game.

Sam Pobanz

Hood River

Certifiably safe

The article in the June 19 issue titled “Staffers take on the Columbia — and lose” unfortunately does not present the sport of windsurfing in a good light when in fact the sport has never been easier to learn or the learning curve shorter. Your staffers apparently did not take their lessons from a USSA certified instructor nor were they using the latest in school equipment.

We strongly recommend that windsurfing be learned at a certified school where trained instructors can deal with varying wind conditions and the challenge of current or tidal flow. A certified school can not only teach the sport faster and easier but it is a safer environment than learning from a friend or trying to learn on your own.

Learning to drive a car from your parents is not the same as going to a driving school and there are many more similar analogies that make it clear that learning a skill from a trained professional is the only way to go.

Hopefully the follow-up to this story is a regular windsurfing lesson taught by a trained teacher of the sport that results in your readers learning just how easy and fun windsurfing can be.

Eric Skemp, President,

American Windsurfing Industries

Association

Hood River

‘Highway robbery’

Dave Leder’s article on the waterfall and scenic hiking trails was spot-on — except one area, the Northwest Forest pass, a $30 payment to hike on public lands.

This is nothing less than highway robbery from our elected officials. This is public land, not private land; this is not pay-per-view. Our elected officials used to adequately fund our National Parks and Forests, but not any more when they can stick it to us with the Northwest Forest pass.

Our government subsidized the logging industry last year between $400 million and $1 billion of U.S. taxpayer money — and then wants to charge me 30 bucks for a Northwest Forest pass. No thanks — don’t buy into this scam, there are plenty of places to hike without the forest pass.

Free access to wild nature is a national tradition we can afford and should continue.

Stephen J. Curley

Hood River

Grab a ‘doggie bag’

How many of you who wax poetic on the natural beauty of Hood River are dog owners? Do you practice responsible dog ownership? By responsible, I mean are you conscientious about having your pet on a leash when required and scooping up after your friend? On Monday while downtown, I actually thanked a woman for cleaning up after her animal buddy. I told her that it seems awfully rare in Hood River that people clean up after their dogs. She agreed. We both grumbled that there’s nothing worse than walking along in Hood River’s lovely public spaces and discovering that we’ve stepped in some of “it.” When taking your canine friend out for the constitutional, please grab a baggy for pick up services. By doing this you will engender good feelings from your community and preserve the beauty of the area as well.

Kathleen Schwanz

Hood River

Better and fairer

It’s important to show up at the Hood River Inn at 2 p.m. today if you are concerned about the quality of our environment. It is at this meeting that Property Rights groups will be lined up to attempt to undermine the Gorge protection afforded by the National Scenic Area Act passed in 1986. The Legislative Oversight Committee will be taking testimony from speakers regarding how well the Act is working, and the kind of job the Commission is doing implementing the Act.

The problem is one of definition. Those folks represented by the likes of Rita Swyers Janis Sauter, and Bobbie Miller are rightfully concerned about property rights infringements by the Gorge Commission that affect people like me. But they are wrong in assuming that “property rights” is some sacred concept that is somehow equally applicable to the national treasure in which we live as places like Lincoln City, Beaverton, or Hazel Dell, Wash. I would support them fully in those communities, but not here.

This place is worth fighting for. The Gorge Commission has the undesirable and thankless job of enforcing the National Scenic Area Act. They are bureaucrats. They’ve made mistakes. But they’re all we’ve got between unregulated development on one hand and control directly from the Feds in Washington, D.C., on the other. Thanks to the National Scenic Act, Portland stops at the Sandy River. Let’s keep it that way. Let’s make them more responsive and fairer, not weaker and less effective.

I encourage you, especially those of you like myself who own property in the National Scenic Area, to show up in mass and support continued full funding of the Gorge Commission and to urge no loosening of development restrictions.

North Cheatham

Hood River

Go see students’ art

Please go to the Bobbie Rosemont Room of the Columbia Art Gallery to see the wonderful work of the Pine Grove second grade class of teacher, Sandi Abramson. The children have created birds after researching and writing an essay about their particular bird. You will be amazed at the models they have made. What excellence in the Hood River School District!

Jean Harmon

Hood River

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